April 2nd, 2014

Testing life on Mars, but here on Earth Computerworld

A six-astronaut crew has begun its 120-day “mission” on Mars.
They’re not actually astronauts and they’re not actually on Mars, but three men and three women volunteers have begun a four-month mission to investigate how they would interact and survive long-duration space exploration, such as a trip to Mars.
The crew of the Hawai»i Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) is wrapping up its first week of a 120-day experiment. Crew members will live in what the University of Hawaii describes as isolation in an “extremely remote,” 1,000-square-foot habitat that’s 8,200 feet above sea level on Mauna Loa, one of five volcanoes that form the island of Hawaii.

February 18th, 2012

NASA fixes computer glitch on robot traveling to Mars Computerworld

NASA engineers updated the software for a robotic Mars rover, correcting a computer glitch more than two months old while the robot hurtled through space on its way to Mars.
Late in November, NASA launched its $2.5 billion Mars Science Laboratory. Dubbed Curiosity, the SUV-size super rover is on an eight-month journey to Mars with a mission to help scientists learn whether life can exist, or has ever existed, on the Red Planet.
However, a problem caused a computer reset on the rover Nov. 29, three days after the launch, NASA reported last week. The problem was due to a cache access error in the memory management unit of the rover’s computer processor, a RAD750 from BAE Systems.

June 27th, 2008

NASA: Ice, mineral-rich soil could support human outpost on Mars Computerworld

The ice and minerals found using a robotic arm in the Martian soil could make it easier for humans to live on the planet in the not-so-distant future.
The ice on the northern pole of Mars has been a particularly important find for NASA scientists because robots and astronauts could extract usable, even drinkable, water from it, helping to sustain an extended stay on the Red Planet, according to Ray Arvidson, a co-investigator for the Mars Lander’s robotic arm team and a professor at Washington University in St. Louis.
“I think the fact that we found water ice means there’s a large reservoir of it,” Arvidson told Computerworld on Friday. “Water is crucial to us as humans, in terms of keeping us going. Water also is a resource that can be processed, in terms of getting oxygen and hydrogen. Finding that water near the surface is important. When you actually go to Mars, you don’t want to take that water with you … the fact that the water is close to the surface is good.”

February 3rd, 2004

Out-of-memory problem caused Mars rover’s glitch Computerworld

A shortage of memory on board the Spirit Mars rover is what caused it to become unresponsive on the Martian surface on Jan. 22, raising fears that the Martian mission might end almost before it began in earnest. Mike Deliman, a technical staff member at Wind River Systems Inc., which provided the real-time embedded operating system used in the mission, said the problem has been re-created in testing on Earth and appears to be entirely memory-related. “It’s not a software bug, it’s not an application bug, and it’s not a hardware bug,” Deliman said. “It’s a system constraint that we ran up against.”

January 2nd, 2004

Mars rovers get help from Wind River Systems Computerworld

When the first of two Mars Exploration Rovers lands on the red planet tomorrow night, scientists will be ready to begin collecting new evidence to try and solve the riddle of whether life has ever existed on Mars. The first rover to land, named Spirit, is expected to descend to the Martian surface at about 11:30 p.m. Eastern time tomorrow and will be guided — as it has been throughout its flight — by an embedded operating system from Wind River Systems Inc. in Alameda, Calif. The operating system will manage the trajectory, descent, operations control, data collection and communications of the missions, according to Wind River.

July 16th, 2001

Internet To Mars Computerworld

The mining of asteroids, space-based hotels, zero-gravity manufacturing and medicine – they’re all part of the future commercialization of space, according to a joint government and industry group that’s developing the InterPlaNetary (IPN) Internet. Starting this year, with NASA funding, the IPN will roll out in pieces over the next several decades to support communications among spaceships, robots and manned and unmanned outposts in the solar system.